Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tackling your Toddler's Tartar

Ask Ali, Part IV

(... that is the roman numeral for the number 4, correct? Gee, I hope so.)

Welcome to the fourth installment in the 'Ask Ali' series. If you're confused, please refer HERE for clarification.

Today's question comes from my fabulous friend Jamie, mother of two, extraordinaire.

She writes:

How do I get my girls to let me brush their teeth? I hate that time of night because they always want to do it themselves, but I want to make sure that their teeth get clean. It is always a battle. What do I do?

Dear Conquerer of the Cavity,
(*pssst: what's the point in a cheesy pseudo-name when I already outed you as being Jamie?)Ah. Bedtime. Depending how the day's been, the word 'bedtime' stirs feelings of excitement and hope. It's the light at the end of the tunnel for an exhausted parent. Meanwhile, in some children, the word 'bedtime' is their personal cue to prepare for battle. Am I right?

Eliza is a huge fan of her toothbrush. She'll ask for her "Beeee" (don't ask) anytime I'm in front of the sink. But like your daughters she loudly resisted when it came time for Mommy to do it for her.

So like any good Mother (*said with deep sarcasm), I delegated the assignment of brushing Eliza's teeth to Andrew. That's right folks, in addition to his task of taking out the trash, he is our family's official dentist.

Mom at the park asks, "Does Eliza have her molars yet?"

Ali responds, "Good question. Let me call Andrew and ask."

Before you sink to my level of being a quitter, here are a few other suggestions.Let your girls take a turn brushing Mom's teeth first. This may even things up a bit in their minds.

Warning: CHILD MAY SUDDENLY SHOVE TOOTH BRUSH INTO THE BACK OF YOUR THROAT. If pregnant, it may trigger your heightened gag reflex causing you to vomit all over dear child. When implementing above method, do so with caution.

When (I should probably say 'If' but 'When' is a more accurate term at our house) that doesn't work, pull out the family straight jacket. Just kidding.

Here's what we do when we're really desperate. Don't report us.
To avoid being hit by flailing limbs, we gently (VERY GENTLY) place a pillow over her arms. Now, it's to the point where Eliza giggles when the pillows on her tummy. After awhile, she began to accept that we'd always win (Mwah-ha-ha) so this part of our routine has become rather mundane.
"Eliza, do you want to come with me to feed the fish?" Andrew asks each night. Immediately she hops up and runs/bounces to our bedroom. While she watches the fish eat, Andrew brushes her teeth. So, if you aren't opposed to eliminating the cute night lamp that matches your spouses, you might consider purchasing a fish tank... or better yet...TAKE OURS! Fish, rocks, plants included :)

Now, I understand that not everyone has access to a husband at bed time. In that case, you're automatically a better woman than me to confront this time of night on your own. However, if Mr. Wonderful is around, I encourage you to make him apart of your children's nightly routine. Seriously though, reading bed time stories to Eliza, singing 'popcorn popping on the apricot tree' and praying together is something we look forward to doing as a family. Recently, Andrew's insisted on braiding Eliza's hair before bed; which means that Eliza gets a moment to play hair stylist with Henry.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Public Vs. Private blogging

This is a topic I hesitate to introduce because I'm not one to stir up controversy. I apologize in advance if opinions get heated, but I'm hoping to receive mature feedback from both sides. I encourage you to read carefully - I hope nothing I say is misinterpreted.

Private Blogging Vs. Public
Here we go kids. What are your thoughts? Obviously, I blog openly. With that being said, I respect those who have chosen to do so privately. This is my attempt to see both sides of the argument. Perhaps "argument" is the wrong term because as I already stated, I don't have a problem with people who blog privately.

*** With the exception that I do feel cheated when a blog I'm a fan of, suddenly turns private. Even when given the option to be included, I lack the courage to ask the person (who is an acquaintance) to sign me up.

Ali, you are a.....
Private Bloggers:
  • Simply put, they're a private person.
  • Perhaps they vent about their place of work and wish to keep co-workers, students and/or clients in the dark (smart move).
  • Intentional exclusion: A friend of mine was bothered by the fact that a certain family member had access to her blog because she openly criticized my friend's parenting methods, so she went private and didn't extend an invite to said family member.
  • In my opinion, the most common reason for people, "Mommy bloggers" in particular, to blog privately is because they're concerned about online pedophiles/creeps stumbling upon their blog and seeing a photo of their child.
Public Bloggers:
  • Networking: because I have an "open" blog, I've reconnected with past friends, come to "know" extended family and made friends with other Mom's who I have (gasp!) never met.
  • Personal gratification. In the past, I've received e-mails thanking me for something I wrote. Knowing that an entry made someone laugh or was helpful, is a rewarding feeling. *Quick disclaimer: I'm not funny in person. My humor doesn't translate as well as it does in my writing.
  • Pure Laziness: the idea of compiling e-mail addresses and sending out invites puts me to sleep.
  • We're a narcissistic group of people, starved for attention. Ha! My roommate had a lame boyfriend who once told me I was narcissistic. After being entirely offended by the tone of his comment I stomped out of the room and immediately found my dictionary to look up the definition of the word. For the record, "WILLIAM! I am glad she dumped you!"
In regards to the "online-safety" issue...

I don't have a problem with strangers looking at my blog. Maybe this makes me reckless and irresponsible in your mind? Thanks to google analytics, I have a pretty good idea of where my traffic comes from; for the most part, visitors are linked over to my site after visiting one of my friends. Sure, I don't know their individual histories. but my "gut" or "intuition" tells me that for now, all is well.

I take Eliza and Henry's safety seriously. I don't need to prove that to anyone but my family. After hearing my detailed plans for our upcoming trip to Lake Powell, (which involves having Eliza super glued to her life jacket and/or handcuffed to me for the duration of our trip), Andrew fears his wife suffers from extreme paranoia. But that's beside the point.

However, if there are news articles, statistics, or something BIG I'm missing that details the hazards of blogging openly, let me know. But really, aren't the odds greater of coming in contact with a creep-o while out grocery shopping or while playing at the park?

Our family will be re-locating in the near future. At that time, I'll be certain to limit details pertaining to where we are and we'll continue to remain unlisted in the phone book.

I have a problem with the idea that I'm being judged for blogging openly. I don't want to switch over to private just because I fear that I'm being criticized. The majority of my 'mommy friends' have open blogs and they're cautious parents. Bottom line, I think it's a personal decision; not one to be made based on what 'everyone else is doing. If I lose my peace of mind, I'll blog privately.

What are your thoughts? Have I missed something obvious?

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Day Out With Thomas - the Highlights

It all began with a love for her Thomas the train, snow boots; boots that she'd wear into the shower (if allowed), boots that she'd wear at the playground in 80 degree weather, boots that she enthusiastically showed off to the world, "Wook! Chooooooo's!" that she'd still be wearing daily if they hadn't magically disappeared a month ago.
"The" Boots

I knew something had to be done when she insisted that she wear them to Church. Thomas remained in her life by way of DVD following Henry's arrival. Soon after, toy trains were introduced, a wooden track, a fork and spoon set, a Thomas birthday party... we fed the obsession.

You can imagine my delight when I learned that Thomas was on his way to Heber Valley's railroad! Disneyland wouldn't mean much to her now in terms of excitement in seeing the characters... but the timing of seeing Thomas the Train, up close and personal, was nothing short of magic.I was "occupied" with Henry when Andrew first pointed out Thomas. I was unable to capture the first sighting as he pulled Eliza out of her car seat. The words; disbelief, wonderment and excitement sum it up well. Christmas morning was overwhelming, her birthday was fun, but THIS... this "day out with Thomas" was the most joy I've felt when seeing the world through her eyes.
All aboard!! While sitting on the train, we were "fortunate enough" to listen to a compilation of Trackside Tunes (the music from the DVD's). The kids around us were impressed to see me singing along. I was the cool mom. Look who decided to wake up for the ride! "Hi, Henry!"Eliza didn't have the patience to wait in line for a photo in front of Thomas; so we settled for our own version.
Before boarding the train, Eliza participated in several activities... we visited the imagination station and colored with sidewalk chalk,
(please note: her love for her red Deutchland hat had replaced the feelings for train boots)

checked out the miniature ponies (apparently we're in the market - refer to last blog entry) and got ourselves "inked" with our very own train tattoos - slightly embarrassing that I didn't have mine off for Church yesterday.However, I think the most memorable moment of our adventure occurred when Andrew informed me that he'd locked our keys in the car. Lovely. Lucky for us, Officer "I bleach my hair" was on hand to save the day. In terms of souvenirs, we came home with another Thomas t-shirt and a Thomas the train potty! I guess that means I'm 'officially' helping Eliza learn to use her potty. After speaking with our pediatrician, I am employing the "I'm here to help you" approach, rather than, "I'm here to make you do this." So far, she enjoys the "commando" life-style and is using it as a chair. She hasn't made a deposit yet.

I feel a tradition in the making in regards to our visit with Thomas. Here's hoping that Henry adopts his sister's love for trains!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Her Consolation Prize

"Pssssst." Andrew whispers. "Ali."

I roll over.

"Are you supposed to be awake?" he cautiously asks.

My eyes locate the clock, panic immediately replaces exhaustion. My intended wake-up call arrived 40 minutes late. My mental plan of action had failed.

"We're going to be late!" I exclaim. He's relaxed.

"Annnn-drew!" I whine, "Why did you let me sleep in?"

"When is their appointment?" He calmly asks.

Resisting an urge to throw my pillow at him, he continues,

"I forgot."

"It's in twenty minutes. I still need to feed Henry, Eliza is asleep in bed, I could use a..." I pause to sniff my arm pit, "...a shower." The shower would obviously have to be sacrificed.

"When you took Henry, I asked you to bring him back to nurse at seven. I wanted to stretch his feeding a half hour so he wouldn't be hungry at the doctor's office. Uhhhh."

Andrew interrupts my grumbling to explain, "But he was back to sleep at seven. Was I supposed to wake him up?"

And that's how Friday morning began. I had been dreading Friday.

Punctuality matters to me, a lot. I can't profess a flawless record, especially when attending social functions, but for official appointments and Church (claiming a bench is essential), I make an extreme effort to be there early.

Due to our late start, I naturally added annoyance to my anxious filled mood. Andrew's innocence and lack of foresight frustrated me. Even so, how could I justify my feelings when he had been up helping me with Henry in the first place? Not to mention, he was spending his day off (the morning half) helping me. It was my fault. Dang it. Time management is my strength; everything else is his.

Friday was the notorious "Shot Day" for the Flegal children.

(Dim the lights and cue the dangerous 'dun, Dun, DUN' music)

After arriving six minutes late, Nurse Sunshine greeted us and led us to the same room where Eliza received her steroid shot (she had croup) three months ago.

Her eyes instantly filled up with crocodile sized tears which indicated that she remembered the last time she'd visited that room. The heart breaker was that she remained totally quiet as her tears streamed down her innocent face.I hate shot day.

As for Henry, he was mellow, content, blissfully unaware.
Fortunately, their doctor is the best. Really. He' s fabulous. Eliza assisted him through Henry's exam and sat quietly through her own thanks to his magical personality. The tears returned when he left and Nurse Sunshine appeared with six shots... three for Eliza, three for Henry.

The moment of sadness passed, suckers and stickers were dispersed to those traumatized (my sucker was grape flavored) and we were soon on our way home. As we drove along 2300 east, Andrew observed an Eliza sized Jeep abandoned in front of a gas station.

"Eliza NEEDS that jeep" He informed me. After dropping us off at home, he went back to the gas station to make his inquiry.

"Before you throw it out, give me a call" he requested. After all, my husband's creed is, 'One man's junk is another man's treasure.'

He received a call an hour later explaining the Jeep had fallen off a trailer that was on it's way to the dump. Andrew went to collect Eliza's consolation prize for her bravery at the doctor's office and brought it back home for an inspection. The diagnosis was quickly made and he knows what is needed to bring that puppy back to life.As for Eliza, she's off the hook in terms of shots for an entire year (WAHOO!!). Still, based on her recently acquired Jeep, she'll be expecting nothing less than a shetland pony next year.
For those interested in their stats:

Weight: 11.0 lbs = 27th percentile
Height: 23 inches = 56th percentile

Weight: 25 lbs = 31st percentile
Height: 35 inches = 79th percentile

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Revisiting the Joseph Smith Academy

If you were a participant at the Joseph Smith Academy, Winter 2004, this post may interest you. If you weren't, you'll just be bored.

As I was falling asleep last night, I began to reminisce about my days at the Joseph Smith Academy (Winter 2004). I allowed myself to mentally walk through the ancient facility. It was a place that made a lively group of strangers, family.

I began with the stairs that led to the beloved cafeteria, easily my favorite room. It was here that we indulged in giant sized waffles, listened to announcements and celebrated one another (thanks in part to the birthday queen, Anne Hazen Lee). Andrew's weekly letters were delivered, week after week, to a table at the far end of the room.

From the cafeteria, I walked into the dated, yet classic, rec room that was 'fully equipped' with a bowling alley and game tables. This room led me into the tunnel where we'd gather to sing each Sunday night. It was the connection point between the dorms to our classrooms. In the event of a tornado, I'd imagine the lot of us squished together here for safety... or in the temple. We would've been safe there!

From the tunnel, I walked into my former classrooms. The scene outside each window captured a picturesque view of the stunning Nauvoo Temple or offered a timeless glimpse of the historic flats. I lingered in the choir room where I sang 'tenor' due to the lack of male population during our semester (seven boys? eight? does anyone remember the female to male ratio?). I lost my favorite lipstick in that room. Curses.

I laughed (and shuddered) as I passed by the community bathroom. I passed by the tiny closet of a room where I'd frequently call my Mom. At the end of the hall, on level two, I came to a large, circular room where we'd meet to scrapbook, crochet, hold impromptu testimony meetings, etc.Oh my gosh, I loved living at the JSA. It's the closest thing to Hogwarts I'll ever experience.

The computer room... our one link to the outside world. A place to gather after lunch to read/send e-mails, do homework (blah), check CNN - but you know, after awhile I didn't care what was going on in the world. We weren't really apart of it during our time there.

The gym. The gym was underrated. I donated blood in that gym. I felt like a true hero because I am (*ahem) a "universal donor" with my O+ blood type. Shortly after donating my blood, I passed out, causing an instant bonding experience with the gym floor. The real travesty is that I missed dinner because of it.

Oooh, the auditorium; a place where we performed for the community and for each other. I participated in a skit that required the use of a swimmers cap (we looked hot) while wearing a $19.00 dollar, Wal-mart swim suit over my clothes. During an evening of sacred music, I was chosen to recite the poem, 'The Touch of the Master's Hand" and at the end of the year, I took part in mocking the staff, who we loved like family, through our impersonations.

Leaving the auditorium, I passed by Grandma's room (a single sister missionary, she was adored by all.) and found my way to the stairs that led up to my room. Back in my room, I notice the sink I shared with the fabulous Julie Jensen. In between our beds, I see our makeshift cardboard night stand that housed her CD player (our alarm clock). We listened to a lot of Josh Groban in our early days. On my desk, there's the self-made picture shrine dedicated to my missionary.

***Thanks Jules for enduring my endless, goo-filled , Andrew love declarations and stories. If it's any consolation, I DID end up marrying him.

In the corner of the bedroom I see my white hamper... Laundry. Hmmm... that's odd. Where did we do laundry?

(five minutes pass)


(another five minutes pass)

I have NO memory of doing laundry. After my entire mental tour (a thorough one at that) of the JSA, I can't place where the laundry room(s) is. I stayed awake, longer than I want to admit, frustrated with myself that I can't remember doing laundry. That's four months of my life - void of laundry - Can anyone help me out?

*** Stay Tuned *** Next week I'll re-visit the tour bus that we lived on while touring the sites. Time can not erase that image from memory. Ha, Kidding.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Simon says, "Fall Asleep!"

Do you know when I blog best? I blog best when I am laying in the dark, trying to fall asleep for the night and my mind won't "SHUT UP" - how annoying, right? Does anyone else have that same problem? If I was a motivated individual, I'd pull out the laptop and let my fingers go hog wild in an attempt to stop the incessant yapping of my brain.

Too bad I'm not motivated.

I woke up this morning to discover that the internal yapping hadn't ceased, so here I sit to take it out on the computer. Speaking of yappers, Eliza is standing here with an unopened 24 pack of Western Family string cheese. Judging by the look in her eyes, she regards this cheese as if it was the Holy Grail.

"Mama, Cheeeeeeeeese!!! Mama, mmmmmmmm"

Returning to the conflict at hand; physically your body is fighting to alleviate a need (in my case, sleep) while your brain/mind - whoever it is in there - the wizard of Oz perhaps, is keeping you awake with worries, memories, dreams of a future life that includes a washer and dryer, etc. The surprise is that my brain can easily outlast my need for sleep, EVEN when I've skipped the beloved afternoon nap.

** Why is it that this problem I speak of doesn't exist for Men. To be fair, I'm not at liberty to make generalizations when you consider that the only man whose sleeping patterns I've observed are Andrews. Seriously though, the man can fall asleep no. matter. what.
(photo taken, sept 2006)

I'll just add that to my list of gender inequalities. :)

Without believing it's possible, you finally DO fall asleep and five minutes later (it seems) someone far more important than your yapping brain wakes you up because he needs to be held, fed, kissed, diapered, etc...

(photo taken two days ago)

Wait a minute, did you think I was talking about Andrew again? I bet you thought I was. Like Father like son, the similarities grow more apparent each day.

It's appreciated when your baby times it right and lets you catch the second viewing of the Tonight Show (3:00 am) or Oprah (1:00 am, I think) because heaven knows, when Oprah's on at four in the afternoon, you don't dare watch the episode because your two year old has claimed ownership of all things "television." She's content when it's left off, but unless your viewing a show that includes charming, repetitive songs, a purple dinosaur or a train with creepy facial expressions you'd better - WATCH OUT!

Hey that's strange, I've diverted again. As you can see, I've been neglecting my mind's need to think and evaluate. The reason for the neglect is entirely this man's fault.(Presenting, my Knight in Shining Arm-errr, I take that back. Presenting, my very wet Knight in Soaking Denim. Nobly, gallantly, bravely, some might say stupidly, this man rode a motorized scooter to work on a day when rain was fore casted. Surprise! It rained.)

Andrew gave me Stephenie Meyer's latest novel, "The Host" for Mother's Day. My mind's been consumed with her latest tale and as a result, I've sacrificed daily naps and severely neglected our living quarters. Pretty much, I inhaled the novel.
I don't want to create expectations for the majority of you that haven't read the book. For me, it's better to be open minded when beginning a novel so I'll leave my opinion to myself. With that being said, I'll simply say that I liked the book.

Who am I kidding? I can never "simply say" anything.

It didn't melt my innards or produce automatic goosebumps with the single mention of a name like, oh I don't know, "edward" - (sadly, edward cullen doesn't make a guest cameo), but her style of writing gels with me. She focuses on relationships and I'm all about the complexities of human (and in this book's case, alien) relationships.

I'm really, really looking forward to talking about this novel with anyone who has finished it. I have some beef I'd like to vent about as well as positives to share. If you have no life and have read it already, please let me know


Monday, May 12, 2008

A special two year old named Eliza

Happy Birthday to the One who made me a Mother. Eliza Grace turned two years old yesterday!I have a two year old. How did that happen? I clearly remember the evening of May 11, 2006 when I held her for the first time.
I'm so thankful for a memory that will allow me to revisit special moments from her life (and um... pictures, they help a lot). This year, Eliza's birthday coincided with Mother's Day. How appropriate to celebrate my role as a Mother with the one who changed my heart completely.

Here's my wordy attempt to describe Eliza:

Spritely (*description courtesy of Aunt Lyn): Eliza seems to bounce when she's on the go. She lights up the room with her laughter, which easily spills out of her mouth whenever she's playing with her daddy.Inventive/Determined (polite way of saying she's stubborn): Recently, she's developed an infatuation with our refrigerator - more specifically with our water jug. After one too many water spills, Andrew fastened a homemade, child-proof lock to keep her out.She was momentarily thwarted. After a good session of pouting, she rebounded. Knowing I was occupied while nursing Henry, I heard her drag a kitchen chair over to our sink. She proceeded to climb up, turn on the faucet... that's as far as she got before I rudely interrupted her; a tantrum followed.

Loving: She takes time outs during the day to climb up on my lap and lay her head on my chest. Is there a better feeling than this? I think not. Perhaps, my favorite sound in the world is hearing her exclaim, "Mama!" when I enter a room. Her relationship with Henry has gone from non-existent to proud ownership that he's her brother. In the words of my pediatrician, "You gave her a best friend."Devious: She located a tube of peppermint chap stick and proceeded to eat it underneath her bed covers. Her pillow has a nice minty scent now. I'll need to get that washed.

Brilliant: I'm totally biased and fully acknowledge that bragging is nauseating. With that being said, pull out your barf bag because I want it recorded that when she was twenty months old, we discovered that she knows and can say the letters of the alphabet.
"Do these glasses make me look smart?"

When driving in the car, she'll spell the signs she sees. "S - T - O - P" or while reading her shoe I'll hear, "D - O - R - A." Recently she's realized that colors other than blue exist. Her vocabulary expands by the day. We're working on pronunciation at the moment. When saying "purple" it comes out, "Purt!"

Beautiful: no explanation needed.

Child of God: I thought it appropriate that this photo resurface. She prays in the same spot each night and will remind me if I forget to pray during mealtime. Pictures of Jesus make her smile and oh how she loves nursery.

She takes the call for food storage seriously

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dear Excusably Exhausted,

Ask Ali, part III (**lame title still in need of improvement, suggestions?)

Dear Excusably Exhausted,

I have been dedicating my daily allotment of day dream time to the question you posed in my, 'Ali in Real Life... Play Along with Me,' comments section. You asked:

So, Dan aka Ali ,

My problem has to do with trying to find romance when I'm dead tired and can barely keep my eyes open once I jump into bed to say my prayers before I pass out from pure exhaustion. How do you keep it alive when you have a new, wee little one that completely dominates all your energy and time?

For the sake of keeping this a family friendly site, let's define the word "it" as being romance. Are we in agreement? Wonderful.

Thanks to chronic sleep interruption, a high spirited toddler, an irresistible baby named Henry AND an overhaul of diaper changes, it seems obvious that my attempt to solve your situation will be a case of "the blind leading the blind" Operation Resurrect the Romance begins now, for us both.

Calling Doctah Love

Recently I've had an epiphany concerning a truth that many of you already know: Falling in love is a continual process. Someone wise once told me that. Pretty sure, I wasn't paying attention. During our engagement, I tuned out all "love advice" because as far as I was concerned, he and I were the most 'in love' couple in the solar system.

However, after three and a half years of marriage, I think it's fair to say that relationships cycle through inexplicable highs (cue the joyous symphony) and also experience natural lows/hardships (to put it lightly). From those 'lows,' or life's challenges, relationships grow IF we choose to learn from them. If not, we create wedges. Wedges are bad.

In both of our cases, our dormant state of romance is the result of demanding new family members; children we love so much our hearts may explode. Am I right?
In addition to babies, obligations including: school, work, church callings, etc. have a way of stealing the spotlight away from your significant other. With regards to the exhaustion you feel it will pass (in 18 + years). But still, caring for a baby requires a lot emotionally as well. So let's focus on solutions that soothe emotional drainage and rekindle the romance.

1. Express Appreciation: Send an e-mail during your lunch break (or baby's nap time) expressing appreciation for specific things your significant other has done for you. Personally, I love handwritten letters; something tangible that I can fold up in my pocket, display on my mirror, etc. Knowing that time was reserved for him to think of me during his busy day means a lot. Pray together; verbally thank God for the good person your spouse is.

2. Along those same lines: PUBLICLY compliment your significant other.

3. Watch your wedding video, flip through wedding/dating photos, etc: Last week, Andrew and I viewed our wedding video for the first time in two years. OH MY GOSH... those feelings flooded back instantly. If he hadn't made a comment about how much was spent on my wedding dress, it could have been a very powerful moment :)

3. Re-visit other romantic memories. For me, this involves reading the letters that sustained and nurtured our relationship for the two years he was away on his mission, walking at Old Farm, and spending time in Southern Utah where we first fell in love.

4. Hold hands in public, try and sit by each other at Church, hug him a minute longer than usual when he comes home, squeeze tighter, ask him about his day before you begin to vent about yours. Staying physically connected is comforting and reassuring. Physical contact reinforces what you're saying.

5. Let him open your door. Or insist that he does. I'm a fan of old-fashioned chivalry.

6. Make him a lunch to take to work (I slack in this department).

7. Send him a text message that will make him blush (*woo, woo).

8. Don't make fun of him when you're with your girlfriends. (I'm working on this one, myself) Playing "let's compare our husbands" is a bad idea. If I blog about Andrew, I clear the content with him before I post it. If it makes him laugh, it's a green light. If I sense discomfort, I refrain.

9. Go on a date. Alone. Even if it's a date in your living room that involves watching a movie while chewing flax seeds (Andrew really loves his flax seeds) after the baby's fallen asleep. Spruce yourself up with a dab of perfume, deodorant, syrup; whatever scent it is your man-chilada likes. A little scope is always nice too.

10. A back rub (or foot) is a personal favorite. Keep in mind, it's nice to return the favor.
Make time for each other; fall in love again. You don't need a vacation to Hawaii (although that would be divine) or a summer in Germany for this to happen. Simple things like sending him a saucy wink at at the grocery store or playing footsie during Sunday dinner (make sure it's really HIS foot) help nurture the seeds of love...
"Our love fern. You let it die!"